Richard Belzer, “Law & Order: SVU” star and acclaimed comedian, has died. According to multiple reports, Belzer died early Sunday at his home in Bozouls in southwest France. He was 78. A cause of death for the actor is not yet known.

Belzer stared as the beloved Detective John Munch on 1993’s “Homicide: Life on the Streets” before taking the role to where it perhaps became most notable, “Law & Order: SVU”. Belzer starred as Munch on the long-running show until 2013. In addition to “SVU”, Belzer appeared on the original “Law & Order” as well as “Trial by Jury”, playing the role for 23 years in total, across 12 different TV series including “The X-Files”, “The Beat”, “The Wire”, “Arrested Development”, “30 Rock” and “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”. His last appearance as John Munch was in a guest spot on “Law & Order: SVU” in 2016.

While Belzer got his start as a comedian — appearing as a warm-up act during the initial run of “Saturday Night Live” from 1975 to 1980, as well being a feature player on the “National Lampoon Radio Hour” — he had a handful of smaller roles in films like “Fame” (1980), “Author! Author! “(1982) and “Scarface” (1983). He also guest starred on several TV shows, including “Moonlighting”, “Miami Vice” and “Tattingers”. Additionally, Belzer had a recurring role in the original “The Flash” in 1991 and in “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”.

A published author, Belzer ultimately retired from acting in 2016.

Following news of his death, Belzer was remembered by his colleagues in the comedy worked, including Marc Maron and “Saturday Night Live” OG, Laraine Newman.

“I’m so sad to hear of Richard Belzer’s passing. I loved this guy so much. He was one of my first friends when I got to New York to do ‘SNL’. We used to go out to dinner every week at Sheepshead Bay for lobster,” Newman wrote. “One of the funniest people ever. A master at crowd work. RIP dearest.”

Maron, meanwhile tweeted, “Richard Belzer died. He was an original. One of the greats, babe. I loved the guy. RIP.”

Patton Oswalt also weighed in, writing, “Aw goddamit, RIP Richard Belzer. I just always thought he’d be around ‘cause it seemed like he always was. A true original. #TheBelzBabe.”

Others who paid tribute were comedians Billy Crystal and Richard Lewis, actress Ellen Barkin, “SVU” exec producer Warren Leight and his “L&O” co-star Mariska Hargitay.

Belzer is survived by his wife, and “Homicide: Life on the Street” co-star, Harlee McBride, and stepdaughters Jessica and Bree.


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